After a lot of research and self convincing, I moved from my Android to Windows Phone 7. My device of choice was the Samsung Omnia W i8350. Why I didn’t pick up one of the Nokia devices was mostly because of the Omnia’s 1.4 ghz processor, the Super AMOLED display and a decent front facing camera. So far, I am pretty satisfied with the purchase.
The design of the phone is nothing to really write home about. Very clearly designed by Samsung. Very similar to most of their smart phones. What is useful is the presence of a physical Windows key along with the capacitive Back and Search keys. This makes it a lot easier to use the phone in the dark. Unfortunately the Windows Key is not back lit and that is a shame.
The back of the phone is also nothing special. The 5 megapixel camera is decent and performs very well in daylight. The night time shooting capabilities are not anything great but the flash helps matters to a great extent. I always found the Samsung phone cameras to be pretty decent. Not close to a Nokia phone camera but definitely very good.
Overall, the phone feels solid in the hand and there is clearly no flex in the body. Maybe the partly metal back helps add to the stiffness. Why the whole back could not be metal is beyond me but that is what you get.
The main features that stand out in the phone would be the display which is a pretty gorgeous Super AMOLED pentile display. I can’t find a fault with it even after reading a bit about the downsides of a pentile display. Coupled with a pretty great touch response from the screen, it is a really good experience. Much better than on an Android device. What is even better is the blackness of the display. So much better than a LCD display, even of my iPad 2.
The next point in the phone’s favour would be the performance of the cameras, both front and back. Very full feature software behind the camera itself makes it very easy to use and adjust settings. The 720p HD videos are very good looking with no stutter as I have always faced on my Android phones. The front camera performs very well too providing non-grainy pictures for self portraits and for use with Skype and such.
The last point in the favour of this phone is the 1.4 ghz processor. It proves that dual core and quad core are really not required on a phone to provide a great experience with a response phone.
While this article is basically to look at the hardware, I do want to point out a couple of things on the software side.
If you ask me why one shouldn’t buy this phone, let me tell you that there really are no deal breakers here. The phone is very capable, however, some may be put off by the fact that they memory is not expandable. the 8 GB that you get with the phone may not be enough for the music lover. I for one haven’t run out of space yet. You may want to skip this device if you are a fan of the really big screens. You will only get the standard 3.7 inch screen that all Windows Phone devices are supposed to have. You should probably not buy this phone if you don’t get Windows Phone as an OS. It is completely different and a lot better in some respects than either iOS or Android.
Lastly, you can’t talk about a smart phone today without worrying about apps. If you use iOS or Android you probably don’t have to worry about this aspect. If you do decide to start using Windows Phone you may find yourself left wanting if you are the kind of person who likes to use, try and/or buy lots of apps. While all popular services have their representative apps on the Windows Phone platform (facebook, twitter, foursquare etc) you may not find apps as easily (or at all) in some cases. For example one of my staple apps on android was an app I used to use to monitor my 3G usage. No such luck on Windows Phone.
While I can clearly see apps getting added regularly and I have found all the major apps that I need for now, I do feel that the Marketplace in Windows Phone is increasingly getting cluttered with useless apps like those you find in Android Market. I was expecting a slightly more controlled environment. Apart from that I have no issues with the apps that are there. I really like the “Try” option in Windows Phone apps that let you use a time or feature limited app and then decide if you want to buy it. Very Windows-esque.
With that I think I can wrap us this review of the Samsung Omnia W GT i8350 and a short view of the OS as well. In case you need any more information, let me know in the comments below.